Homemade bombs slammed into the Bihac area of northwest Bosnia as Serbs pressed their attack on Muslim enclaves before a scheduled holiday cease-fire.

After a two-day diplomatic blitz between Bosnian Serb rebel headquarters and the Bosnian government, former President Jimmy Carter brokered an agreement for a temporary truce starting Friday."My hope is that we can soon have a cease-fire, the total disengagement of military forces," he told reporters late Tuesday after meeting with Serbia's president, Slobodan Milosevic, in Belgrade, the Yugoslav capital.

Carter left for Germany after holding talks with Milosevic, who is widely blamed for the violent breakup of former Yugoslavia and considered a key figure in ending the fighting, now in its 32nd month.

In Sarajevo Wednesday, U.N. spokesman Alexander Ivanko said Carter's efforts resulted in a "certain momentum for peace."

Maj. Koos Sol, another U.N. spokesman, said Yasushi Akashi, the senior U.N. official in former Yugoslavia, would arrive Thursday for meetings with Bosnian government and Serb officials. Akashi, he said, hoped for a meeting of the two sides at Sarajevo airport Friday to agree formally on a cease-fire.

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Carter said talks on a four-month cease-fire would begin Friday, with the goal of concluding them by Jan. 1. It appeared that if no agreement were signed by New Year's Day, the current truce would likely go the way of dozens of others - quickly broken by new fighting.

U.N. officials in Sarajevo said Wednesday that outgunned Muslim-led government troops and Muslim civilians in Bihac remained under siege, continuation of a Serb offensive that began Nov. 5.

Fighting eased because of snowstorms Wednesday, Bosnian radio said. But Lt. Col. Gary Coward, a U.N. spokesman, said Tuesday was "probably the worst day in Bihac thus far, at least in the recent past."

He said handmade 500-pound bombs as well as mortar shells and artillery rounds rained down on Bihac, wounding at least 13 people. Bosnian radio said five people died and 47 were wounded.

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